of the month
By Rich Petersen
Ricardo García Estrada
This is 12-year old Ricardo García Estrada. What a smile, right? Ricardo lives in Chapala with his parents, Rosa, a housewife, and José Manuel, a meat cutter. He has two younger siblings, José Manuel, age 8, and Dulce Valeria, age 1.
About 18 months ago Ricardo was diagnosed with leukemia and has been under treatment at the Hospital Civil ever since. When his Dad first brought him to our attention, it was to obtain a wheelchair for the boy since the chemotherapy had left him very weak and unable to walk. Fortunately, the chair is no longer needed and Ricardo is once again ambulatory. He has undergone weekly chemotherapy since last August, first intravenously but now he takes an oral medication.
His leukemia is well controlled say his doctors and his quality of life has returned to almost normal. The side effects from chemo are many and differ from patient to patient. In Ricardo’s case the I.V. doses have caused two secondary problems: the first was convulsions which fortunately are being treated successfully with another oral medication. Second, was the destruction of the cartilage in his nose, and now he faces surgery to repair a deviated septum. There appear to be no contra-indications to this surgery, which will have taken place by the time this article is published.
Niños Incapacitados has been paying for Ricardo’s medications and transportation to and from the Hospital Civil. We will also cover the cost of the surgery on his nose as well as any follow-up that might be necessary.
Back to that smile—Ricardo is blessed with a caring and supportive family, and he is a “quick study.” He knows all the medical terminology related to his illness and has learned to self-diagnose symptoms he has. He knows about hemoglobin and platelet counts and how each can affect his energy level and state of mind. He knows when he has to rest and when he can go out and play soccer. Another favorite pastime is searching and learning on the computer. He doesn’t have a computer of his own but is able to use one at a nearby Cyber Café.
Ricardo is in the 6th grade now and is very good at science and math, both of which will serve him well should he continue on to become a doctor, which is what he says he wants to do. Both Ricardo and his mother were guests at Niños Incapacitados’ last monthly meeting, and both related how grateful they are to the group for all the assistance with this difficult life situation.
Please join us the second Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. in the patio of La Nueva Posada to learn more about our group and our mission, and also to meet other children like Ricardo.